Nina Lau

ASR: What experience do you have that qualifies you for the position you're running for?

Lau: That's funny that you asked that because last year my experience was only working with high school leadership and since then I'm the current vice president for student life. I have had the full experience for three and a half quarters now. I've worked with administrators, I've had to meet new people and make those connections and have ongoing communications with them. That has been the majority of my experience and also figuring out the change over from campus to community affairs which was Kevin McLane, the predecessor; his responsibilities were different than the responsibilities for student life.

So Erik Lowe and I spent a lot of the time digressing on what responsibilities were his and what responsibilities are mine and which offices or entities I actually work with. It included the health center, it included RHA [Residence Hall Advisory] some of which the connections have been lost, and then this year I decided to add athletics into it because I feel like athletics is a huge part of our student population that kind of is ignored organizationally from that standpoint. So I made this connection with the athletics department which is like 500 plus student population of our student body. And it could definitely swing a vote, you know, for instance, and they should have a say in things. I've actually made the effort to reach out and do that. That is experience I can bring to this position next year.

ASR: What are your three biggest goals for next year?

Lau: Three biggest ones is hard to say because I think that there are a lot of other little things that still need work on, and things that I would like to continue working on. I don't see any huge glaring problems that the University has but one of my biggest, biggest goals is to create a community on Western's campus that, Viking Pride, for instance, is instead just Western Pride. Where the reputation of Western proceeds how long it took you to get your degree because I think that's a huge key. Why are we going to school? We are going to school so that we can get a job and get paid better.

If the reputation of Western were to precede that, you'd go to an employer, you'd put in your application and all that they'd need to know is that you're a graduate of Western to say come on in, let's talk, let's have an interview. I really believe that's possible.

I know were a smaller campus but I'd like to see us working together more with residence halls association because that's 5,000 students, athletics, and then off campus is a little bit tougher. I would like to just keep working with these people and to develop these relationships and to talk to Blue Crew, talk to RHA, and have our goals kind of start streamlining, because the Associated Students is a huge organization but I feel like people do a lot of their own separate things. We're all working towards the same thing and so it's like we're putting our resources into the same thing. We should maybe put our resources into something more and building on that and creating on that. I think that's one of my biggest goals, you know, how do you outreach that to students and how do you get other people to galvanize to do something or want to do something, or be a part of something. So that's going to be the work part of it and the goal part of it is to have that outreach, number one.

Number two, like I said there are a lot of little things like the late night shuttle, which we just started this year and the bus passes, there are still kinks that need to be worked out. It's always going to be an ongoing issue because transportation is going to change as campus grows, as more people come onto campus. Everyone has their own ideas whether or not you bring your car or whether or not you choose to ride the bus, for instance, then that's where the tough part is, too.

But I would definitely want to improve late night shuttle service look at the possibility of extending it into Happy Valley for instance and Fairhaven because I have heard that there are some good night life activities out there—not that I'm old enough to participate but—I think that would be really neat, definitely—working with WTA, getting contracts, getting better information out there. I think half the student body doesn't realize what your $25 actually pays for two separate things; that not all of it goes to WTA, there are so many parts to it. A huge goal too is educating the student body about the Associated Students and working on those issues. And I think that those can be two different goals, you know there is the education factor and there is the late night shuttle and WTA.

Then, with introduction of new fees or fee increases, I think that education is a huge one. I don't think that people realize how many different things the seven different board members deal with. That would be another one.

ASR: What are one or two decisions that the board made that you would disagree with or change?

Lau: I'm not so sure I disagree with many of them. Especially since I was part of making those decisions and I know for instance, I'm going to go back to the beginning of the year, I'm going to go back to the late night shuttle. I don't disagree with it at all from a personal standpoint—I definitely don't. From a representative standpoint I can definitely see where some people took issue with it and why they would be upset to pay $25 dollars for something that they don't use for instance.

A good percentage of our student population are simply pedestrians, you know, they bike or they walk, they don't even think about public transportation. And if I was one of them I definitely wouldn't want to pay 25, 75 dollars total, for something I didn't use. People brought up those concerns to me and I definitely recognize those but I think on a larger scale and from a broader standpoint the majority rules in that sense. And that's where the job gets tough in that you have to make those executive decisions. Although recognizing them, majority benefits from everybody putting into the pool.

Then there are other services too like the Rec Center for instance that maybe one person might use while another person won't. So that's where the fee was one that I had trouble with and it was one of the first decisions coming in to the position that I had to make. And I didn't know all of the repercussions, all of the standpoints, and so that's where you rely on everybody else.

So it's hard to answer the question because I don't disagree with very many of the decisions. At one point they end up making sense to me and the larger whole, since there are seven of us, ends up being majority rules.

ASR: What past or present political leader do you identify with, or pop cultural icon?

Lau: I was watching Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards and Cameron Diaz got some award for, I don't even remember, something for basically for doing a lot of things for the world in general. And she had the whole entire audience repeat after her and say “we are the future,” or it was something along those lines.

I would identify with that because I really believe that kids are the future. I want to be a teacher and that's why, because I believe in the potential of people in general and I'd like to take part in shaping their futures and helping them attain whatever goals it is. I really really believe in that. So with pop culture I guess it would be Cameron Diaz and what she did at the Kid's Choice Awards.

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Ben Wurtz

ASR: What experience do you have that qualifies you for the position you're running for?

Wurtz: Vice President of Student Life deals with the residence halls and dinning halls and campus safety and also campus health and transportation and parking.

As far as the residence halls are concerned I've been an RA for the last year and a half. I've been working with students, I love it. I'm excited to continue to work with students. I've been listening to them whether it be just for the residence halls or if it is for other things across campus including clubs and organizations that the residents could get involved in.

I've been a strong reference there as a matter of getting to know the students and everything. I've also been involved in various clubs across campus including the Blue Crew Board. We formed last year to try and change the crowd status [increasing the amount of people] at games and we've seen a big improvement just in one year.

I've also planned different events including culture shock (an annual Beta Gamma event) this year and last year and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes this year, which was very successful. We had over twice as many people and we raised over twice as much money as we did last year as well.

ASR: What are your three biggest goals for next year?

Wurtz: I think my biggest goal is reducing our dependence on cars. We're a growing campus and space is running out. At some point it's going to be, we can't have any more.

And that also filters into my second main goal which is becoming a more sustainable campus in that we're not using cars. Getting the bus pass was a big first step to that but we could do so much more as far as like UW [University of Washington] has flex car systems and emergency taxi systems that make it so students don't have to bring their cars to campus. And I think with Bellingham downtown is so close and the WTA is so good that the need really isn't there to have a car except maybe to go home a couple weekends a quarter.

And then also, for the third thing, keeping up on what we did this year. I mean the meal plan task force has done a great job making new meal plans for the students living in the dining halls but we really need to focus on if that really is the solution for us. I'd like to continue that committee and making sure that it's a good fit for Western.

Also Western Men Against Violence and CASAS, crime and sexual support services has lost their funding through the judicial department. And we're trying to get funding for this year and I want to keep working to get those because I think they are very important for campus safety.

ASR: What are one or two decisions the AS Board made this year that you disagree with or would change?

Wurtz: I've been going to the meetings since January and there was one meeting where the Women's Center came in to get funding and they asked for $500, I think, to bring in a speaker to help with the Vagina Memoirs. They denied them that money because they just didn't have it.

And I think that as a whole the board had spent more money in the first quarter than any other quarter and was really trying to pinch and had to cut off some of the funding for the second quarter. I think that was just kind of mismanaged. I think the biggest problem that we had this year was mismanagement of money and getting maybe a little bit too ahead of ourselves the first quarter. I think that money should be more easily spread out, especially for winter [quarter] when you can really go to parks and its freezing cold out. Everyone is looking for activities on campus.

ASR: What past or present historical figure do you identify with, or pop cultural icon?

Wurtz: I'd really like to be Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters II. He's one of my heroes. He's just, he's really good at adapting to new situations and like if no one takes the lead he'll take the lead but if someone else has it he's completely okay with supporting them and helping them out. And he's just really funny, I love Bill Murray. And he's a doctor.